Downsizing My Closet With Project 333

Most of us can agree that our closets are stuffed with too many clothes. Project 333 was a downsizing journey I underwent to correct this problem in my own closet.


The pollen has fallen, so it must be time for spring cleaning.

Like many of you, I have taken notes from Marie Kondo’s Konmari system of tidying up. And like many of you, my closet was a big daunting area of opportunity. Facebook, of course, used it’s psychic abilities to sense my hesitation about tackling my wardrobe. That is how I found out about the Project 333 challenge

Project 333 began as an internet course to challenge people to downsize their wardrobe into only 33 pieces for three months. The goal was to understand how much you can gain by living with less. The creator of Be More with Less website, Courtney Carver, has since published her second book, Project 333, The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More, which follows her first book, Soulful Simplicity.

There are many avenues available right now to discover more about minimalist living, yet this one had an intriguing aspect to me because it was a short term plan. A fad-diet for my closet. I had nothing to lose.

But only 33 items of clothing AND ACCESSORIES for three months?!?! We are talking tops, layering tanks, bottoms, jewelry, shoes, handbags, the works. Impossible, you say?

Well, I’m here to tell you that this experience was not only possible but truly eye-opening. 

I began on laundry day…

Everything I typically wear was in the laundry, so anything left hanging in my closet (with two exceptions) went into bags to be stored for three months. Then I did the laundry.

As I put each item away I had to decide if I truly loved the way I looked in it. Did it make me feel the way I want to feel? Not only joy but confidence and comfort. Suffice it to say, many other items ended up in the storage bags destined for donation. 

It is important to note that Courtney Carver suggests creating “capsule wardrobes”. This means creating a group of essential clothing to fit your particular lifestyle, such as one set of clothing for summer months and one for winter months.

To better fit my lifestyle, I also separated sleepwear, lingerie, specialty attire (bathing suits, cocktail dresses, etc.), and workout gear into additional capsules.

The concept behind this is to reduce daily decision stress while getting to wear your favorite items more often, yet in a focused manner. 

Carver’s example of a capsule wardrobe

Next came accessories. Carver suggests taking stock of the colors you wear most, then matching your accessories to those colors. This process should teach you that the more versatile the pieces, the more valuable they become.

Thus, my final spring clothing count looked like this: 

  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 twill pants
  • 2 layering tanks
  • 10 tops and tees
  • 3 dresses
  • 1 denim jacket
  • 1 cardigan
  • 2 sandals
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 handbag
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 charm necklace (adjustable length chains and charms included)
  • 2 bracelets

Yes, you counted correctly; thirty-FOUR items. I gave myself some grace on the sunglasses since I leave them in my car most often. I also did not include my rings or earring studs because I rarely take them off. (Thank goodness I’m not a hat or scarf person!)

Nevertheless, I have been living with this closet for well over two months now, and my perspective has altered. 

What have I gained by letting go of so much?

Time in the morning from choosing an outfit.

Less stress with weight fluctuation because there are no “skinny” clothes mocking me in my closet every morning.

Storage space in my closet.

Money! Instead of buying a $15 trendy bargain-item online every few weeks, I am learning to invest only in pieces that replace a worn item, or higher-end pieces that have longevity and versatility.

Most importantly to me, I also feel like a better mother because I am setting an example for my daughter to be thoughtful about “things” as a consumer. I am teaching myself and my kids the difference between want and need. And I still look good!

Will I always restrict myself to exactly 33 items of clothing? Probably not. Although, I guarantee that I will forever be striving to understand the value of less.

Are you ready to take the project 333 challenge?

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Valerie McGee
Valerie was born in 1985, which means she identifies with both Gen X-er's and Millennial's depending on the time of day. She grew up on Florida's treasure coast, and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in History and Literature. This is where her love for reading and writing blossomed. After working many years in Retail throughout the east coast as both a manager and district trainer, she and her husband, Rick, moved to northeast Columbia. There she took the opportunity to become a SAHM. Valerie has both a smarty-pants little girl, Mary Sue, and an overly mischievous baby boy, Connor. In her spare evenings she is a local Girl Scout Co-Leader for younger girls. Her interests also include expanding her talents in the kitchen, as shown by her participation in a local Baking Club and a general obsession with all things Food Network.


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